My take on the NEW MacBook

MacBook-2015

Yesterday when Apple announced the new MacBook I was mildly interested. After all my 2nd computer is a MacBook Air. I’m always attracted to electronics that are thinner and lighter in weight. However, as they started to reveal the specs I quickly began to realize that this wasn’t going to be a product for me. I also had to remind some of my friends that not every product created is for every user. This is why Apple now has three different products in their notebook lineup (MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro). I’m mostly a pro user and this is NOT a pro machine.

Could it be an upgrade for my MacBook Air Mid 2012?

My 2nd computer that I use mostly around the house is approaching the 3 year old mark and that’s like 3 hundred years old in computer years right? My MacBook Air currently has 8GB of RAM, a Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD and a 13″ display. I always said that I would upgrade it the minute Apple created a 13″ MacBook Air with 16GB of RAM. That day still hasn’t come yet and the New MacBook isn’t an upgrade for me either, so I continue to wait. First off, I don’t want a smaller display. While I don’t connect a lot of peripherals to my MacBook Air on a regular basis it’s still good to know that I can easily connect an external display/projector, Wacom tablet and Thunderbolt hard drive and insert and SD memory card without any fuss.

Then who is the new MacBook for?

When I think of the New MacBook I immediately think of students and perhaps office workers/managers. These are folks who primarily use web based apps (so the browser is their main app) and productivity Apps. They do email, they write, they store things in Dropbox and they move around from location to location, classroom to classroom, meeting room to meeting room, a lot. However, most of those users will still tell you that they need to plug in an USB thumb drive from time to time.

The Bottom Line

If you’re disappointed in the specs of the new MacBook, remember that this is Apple’s “low end” notebook. It’s probably not for you and never was intended to for you. You walk past things in the mall every time you go there that aren’t for you, but you don’t complain you just keep walking. This is no different. This NEW MacBook feels more like an upgrade to the iPad user that’s hit the wall. If you think about it, it’s like an iPad with a keyboard/trackpad instead of a touch display, that can run Mac OS X instead of iOS. It has a 12″ display instead of a 10.1″ display. Yep, it’s an upgrade to the iPad in almost every way. Feel better now? :-)

In the meantime I’ll keep working happily on my MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

Find out more about the new MacBook here.

Also the good folks over at Mashable had a good article about 5 things that Apple didn’t say about the new MacBook. Definitely worth a read.

In other news

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Apple dropped the price of the Apple TV to $69! It’s still one of my favorite gadgets of all time.



Poll: Will you be getting the Apple Watch?

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Now that we have all the details of the Apple Watch including the “all day” (18 hour) battery life and pricing, I’m curious as to how many of my readers will be getting the Apple Watch. This will also help in determining the level of interest in 3rd party apps?

Please take a moment to answer my one question poll:

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See the results here.

Tripod Mount for your Smartphone

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I’ve reviewed tripod mounts for smartphones before, however the good ones I’ve looked at in the past were fine as long as you only wanted to mount your smartphone horizontally. Horizontal mounting is desired by film makers for sure. There are times when you may want a vertical mount especially if you’re shooting stills or time lapse. For this I turned to the good folks over at Arkon (the makers of mounts for just about any device) and sure enough they had one that was exactly what I was looking for. It had to be able to rotate between horizontal and vertical orientation and it had to be big enough to accommodate my iPhone 6 Plus (with my clear case).

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The Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter fits the bill nicely. Not only does it rotate between horizontal and vertical orientations, but it also pivots more like a ball head. As you can see in the above photo it also works great if you have a GorillaPod tripod. The Arkon Universal tripod mount for your Smartphone is great option to have in your camera bag or your computer bag because you never know when you want to shoot something that will be difficult to shoot handheld.

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If you’re alone and need a wireless remote for your smartphone, I’ve had good luck with this bluetooth one. Technically all it does on the iPhone is press the up volume button wirelessly which as you probably know snaps a photo.

Get the Arkon Universal Smartphone Holder Tripod Adapter here.

The Logitech Type+ for iPad Air 2 is Just Right

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This is probably my third or forth Logitech keyboard for iPad and this one by far is the closest one to being perfect. The Logitech Type+ is a both a bluetooth keyboard and protective case. What makes this one better than the previous models is that Logitech made it even thinner so that it doesn’t add much bulk to your nice new iPad Air 2.

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The keyboard layout is also better. With the previous mode I was constantly hitting the  the home key (returning to the home screen) when trying to type a 1. They moved the home button up to the row at the top on this layout (thank you!). Lastly I love the way that they integrated the ability to lay the iPad flat over the keyboard when you just want to use the iPad without using the keyboard without having to remove it from the case.

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Actually the keyboard is activated when you put the iPad in the “stand” position where it magnetically held in place right above the keyboard. The only thing keeping this case from being “perfect” is that you cant’ use it if you want to stand your iPad up in the vertical position. Sure you can hold it vertically, but you wont be able to stand it that way.

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If you have an iPad Air 2 this is the best keyboard case I’ve seen. You can get it here.

If you have the original iPad Air, then I’d recommend this one.



Adobe Photoshop Turns 25

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Happy Birthday Adobe Photoshop! That’s right folks, it was 25 years today (February 19, 1990) that Adobe released Photoshop 1.0. It’s hard to imagine that what started out as a product that most people at the time didn’t even understand why we’d need it, would become such a phenomenon that entire industries have been built upon. I of course like many of you begin to think back to the first version of Photoshop that I ever used. For me it was Photoshop 2.0. I only used 2.0 for a short time before getting the Photoshop 2.5 upgrade. I guess I was like most people at the time. I’ll admit that I really didn’t get it at first. I was spending most of my time back then in PageMaker and using clip art. It really wasn’t feasible to use digital photos yet simply because there were limited ways of getting the photos into the computer at a decent resolution. There were no consumer digital cameras! Nope, NONE. No cellphone cameras because there were no cellphones. There were scanners, but they were very expensive if you wanted a good one and even if you paid to have a scan done to your “floppy” disc and brought it home, you’d be hard pressed to have enough memory to do any major work on it in Photoshop. Nonetheless, Photoshop did evolve to the point of becoming a verb “I Photoshopped that” in popular culture. Most designers couldn’t imagine doing their jobs without having Photoshop and as a photographer I haven’t seen or taken a photo that couldn’t be improved in someway by Photoshop.

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Thomas and John Knoll, the inventors of Photoshop

I was thinking of ways I could show people just how far Photoshop had come. After all there are many users that use Photoshop that are 25 years or younger as well as users who were babies or kids when Photoshop was released. That’s when it hit me: why not show people what it was like to use Photoshop 1.0 back in 1990? Imagine using Photoshop without layers, with only one undo, and no camera RAW. Also this may be hard to wrap your head around, but Photoshop 1.0 was released two years before there was a standard called JPEG. That’s right. There was no JPEG when Photoshop came out. On your Mac you typically worked with either PICT files or TIFF files. Let’s take a look at what it was like to do editing and compositing:

 

It’s hard to believe that Photoshop 1.0 originally shipped on an 800k floppy disc. There was no installer. You either ran it from the floppy or copied it to your hard drive.

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While Photoshop did work in color it would be another couple of years for me before I upgraded from a Mac Plus to a Mac LC with color monitor.

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When I joined Adobe in 1996 it was more than a thrill to be working for the company whose products were constantly evolving. Those were exciting times to say the least.

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Terry White presenting at the Photoshop 20th Anniversary Celebration

I’ll be celebrating my 19th year at Adobe this July and it has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of company and history that has brought so much creative freedom to the world.

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Terry White along side David Wadhwani introducing Photoshop CC to the world

 

One of the highlights of my career was getting the chance to be on stage at Adobe MAX 2013 and introducing Photoshop CC to the world.

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I would like to once again thank all the engineers that spend so many hours, nights and weekends pushing Photoshop to the limits and giving us the tools to make our visions a reality. Most of all Thank YOU. Without our customers we wouldn’t be where we are today.

A look back…

Take a look at this video from the early days and also watch Russell Brown, Thomas Knoll and John Knoll discuss how far Photoshop has come (20th Anniversary Video interview).

And while we’re looking back on this 25th Photoshop Anniversary, let’s take a look at my 1st Photoshop episode of my Creative Suite podcast. This episode first aired on February 15, 2006.

Happy Birthday Photoshop! I’m looking forward to the next 25 years of innovation. As a side note and bit of trivia today is also Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s 8th Anniversary.

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Terry White along side David Wadhwani introducing Lightroom Mobile iPhone to the world.

 

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Take advantage of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan which includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile for only $9.99/month.

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I’ve Released the Video You’ve Been Asking for the Most

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I’ve been doing video tutorials since 2006 and I mostly concentrate on the Adobe’s design and photography products. However, I do dabble in the video tools too. Last May I thought it would be helpful to my followers if I released a How To Get Started with Adobe Premiere Pro CC – 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How To Do. Little did I know then that it would rise to the number three spot of my top 10 most watched videos each month with close to a quarter million views to date. Of course the other side effect was that I got tons of requests to do one on After Effects. While I use Premiere Pro CC on a somewhat regular basis, I haven’t really used After Effects in several months. I didn’t let that stop me from answering the call and yesterday I released the long awaited How To Get Started with Adobe After Effects CC – 10 Things Beginners Want to Know How to Do. This video like its sister video has already had a large number of views in less than 24 hours. You asked for it, here it is:

The February 2015 Updates of Adobe Muse CC and Adobe InDesign CC

I also recently released videos covering the latest updates of Adobe Muse CC and Adobe InDesign CC. Check them out:

B&H Photo and Video now sells the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

That’s right you can buy a year of Adobe Creative Cloud for photographers, which includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 and Lightroom Mobile. You can get it here:

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Check out Nomad’s latest phone charging accessories

NomadKey

Nomad has three new smartphone charging accessories that are pretty cool and convenient. The first one is their new NomadKey. This slightly larger than a key sized accessory means that you will always have a micro USB or Lightning cable with you right on your key ring.

You can get the NomadKey Lightning here.

You can get the NomadKey Micro USB here.

nomadclip

The next one is their new NomadClip. This is great for those of you who like to clip your keys to a belt loop or backpack.

You can get the NomadClip Lightning here.

You can get the NomadClip Micro USB here.

NomadPlus-charger

Last but not least is their cleverly designed NomadPlus. Your existing iPhone charger goes right inside turning this device into both a charger and 1800mAh battery backup as well. My only disappointment with this one is that it’s only 5V/1A (same as the iPhone charger). I was hoping that as a battery backup it could be 2.1A instead for fast charging and charging iPads at full speed. Otherwise it’s a cool charger/battery backup for your iPhone.

NomadPlus-iPhone

You can get the NomadPlus here.

Having Fun with New Light Modifiers

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If you’ve followed my photography over the years you know that I’m always looking at new light modifiers. I can never have too many in my arsenal. Over the past few evenings I’ve been experimenting with some new ones that have made their way into my studio. Let’s take a look at them and some of the results I’ve been getting so far.

Fstoppers Flash Disc

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The first one was actually what I call a “checkout line impulse buy”. In other words my cart at B&H Photo had the items I wanted and I still had some money left on my gift card. I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted in the amount that was left over so I decided to add the Fstoppers Flash Disc. It looked cool, very portable (it folds down to a size smaller than the speed light), and I figured if nothing else I could use it as my white balance card.

Before last night’s shoot I decided to take a few test shots so that you can get a feel for what this will do for you. Now keep in mind that the bigger the light and the closer it is to your subject, the softer it will be. Since this modifier is relatively small I was skeptical. However, it did exactly what I expected. It gave me a better light than I would have gotten without it!

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First up, here is worse case scenario. No modifier at all. Just flat horribly harsh lighting from the speed light using just the little built-in flip down diffuser. (yes I could have bounced it to make it better. Yes I could have turned the power down. Yes I could have done _____., but the point here is to show what small lights typically do straight on).

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Now with the Fstoppers Flash Disc mounted directly on the speed light. The results are notably better than without it. If you look at the shoulders you see a software light pattern and her face is less blown out and not as flat. Again there are more things you can do to make the results even better, like bouncing the light and perhaps a different position/distance, but again the point here is to see simply what difference it would make by adding the Flash Disc.

Adding in the Westcott Omega

The next modifier I was going to look at was the NEW Westcott Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit. The material directly connected to the frame is a one stop diffusion panel. So before getting to my Omega setup I simply added the diffusor to my existing Flash Disc set up to get this result.

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Same light. Same Flash Disc. However, the results are much much better simply by diffusing the light a little more. Add a reflector for under the eyes/chin and you’re golden.

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Since the Omega was effectively going to take the light down 1 stop, I increased the power setting on the speed light from 1/8 to 1/4 to compensate.

The Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit

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This reflector kit adds one element that I haven’t seen or had in any of my previous multi-use its and that is a “shoot through window”. First off you get a typical 5-in-1 kit right off the bat. You get Silver, Gold/Sunlight, White, Diffuser (built on to the frame) and Black. Now take all of those surfaces and remove the center piece for a 10-in-1 kit.

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When doing a shoot through setup like this, you kinda have to think backwards as you’ll be using the reflective side facing the subject to light the subject. In the setup above I used two speed lights. The one in back (no modifier) was position up high to act more as a hair light and to add a little fill. The second speed light was mounted in a Rapid Box Strip to provide both a rim light and main light.

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I like the results and the fact that this modifier made me think outside my box in ways of setting up lights that I probably wouldn’t have tried otherwise. It’s also ideal for putting up in front of a window either as a diffuser or shooting through the window from outside into the room without blocking the light.

The Westcott Omega 10-in-1 38″ x 45″ Reflector Kit is the one I’ll be traveling with from now on as it provides the basic reflecting, diffusing, flagging functions that I would need, plus the ability to shoot through.

The Rapid Box Duo

I was already a fan of the Westcott 26″ Rapid Box, which is part of my “Westcott Terry White Travel Portrait Lighting Kit“. So when they announced the Rapid Box Duo, I was intrigued.

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The big difference here is that this one allows you to mount one or two speed lights to give you more light. It’s also a slightly bigger size at 32″. It still collapses down for travel and comes with all the mounting hardware/angled bracket for mounting your speed lights outside for better triggering.

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Here I have an Nikon SB 910 and SB 800 mounted.

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Adding in the Westscott Eyelighter, which is probably my favorite modifier of all time. I get the results on location that I would typically get with more expensive studio strobes.

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As I’ve said many times. You can have the most expensive camera in the world, but without great light your pictures are liable to suck.

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However, if you have great light you can get good results with just about any camera.

You can get the Fstoppers Flash Disc here. You’ll also want this “tilt mount” to be able to mount your speed light and tilt it down.

You can get the Westcott Omega 10-in-1 Reflector Kit here.

You can get the Westcott Rapid Box Duo here


 


Best Nikon DSLR GPS

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It has been a while since I’ve looked at GPS units for my Nikon DSLRs and yes it’s sad that in 2015 we still have to look at external solutions. However, that is the current state of affairs and the good news is that the prices have come down and the units continue to get better. Recently I was debating going with a NEW Nikon D750 vs a D810. When I was leaning strongly towards the D750 I tested my existing GPS unit (the one on my Nikon D600) and realized that since the GPS port was in a higher spot on the body that my Dawn di-GPS Eco model just wouldn’t work.

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It’s a shame because I really like the flush to the body design of the di-GPS Eco models. I reached out to Dawn Tech to see if there was one on the horizon for the D750 and they informed me that they were working on something, but it wasn’t ready yet. In the mean time I got the UPDATED Mini3 MTK S5. I had worked with the older model in the past and this newer one now includes the “Last Position Memory” function, which is great for those times when you go inside and keep shooting. More importantly it has an even lower power consumption (19mA, less than 1/3 of the current consumption of Nikon’s own GP-1). While it doesn’t have the flush to the body design that I like so much in the di-GPS Eco, it’s very lightweight and can either sit in the hot shoe or attach to the camera strap.

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I ultimately decided on and bought the Nikon D810. So this means that I get to use the Eco ProFessional M model. This one has the same “flush” design that I like and it even has the important pass through terminal port so that I can use my cable release or other accessories.

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The Bottom Line

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Nikon has had GPS support built-in to their DSLRs for years, but still refuses to build the actual GPS receiver in to their DSLR bodies or battery grips.

 

I love geotagging my photos as I take them. I use the Maps module in Lightroom quite a bit for my landscape and travel photos. It’s also easier to answer that “where did you take that shot” question as the galleries on my website also take advantage of this data allowing visitors to see exactly where each shot was taken. Sure there are many solutions and even iPhone apps like this one, but the most accurate and convenient way is to have the GPS data logged right into the metadata of each shot as you take them. While I applaud Nikon for having direct GPS support right in the menu of their DSLRs, it’s a shame that in 2015 we still have to buy “EXTERNAL” modules. As I’ve said many times I’d love to see this either built right in or at least built into an “optional” battery grip. Until that happens The GPS units from Dawn are your best bet.

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Using the Maps module I can easily see exactly where shots were taken and even copy to GPS data to images that were taken with other cameras that didn’t have GPS.

 

 



How To Backup Your Photos

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While having dinner with friends the conversation came up about running out of space on a laptop. I asked my friend who is retired and travels for pleasure most of the time, how he backs up his photos? He told me at first that he had merely moved some photos onto a “USB stick”. I dug a little deeper (knowing that my friend knows a lot about computers) and found out that he does have a backup strategy that involves multiple drives and offsite backup. Whew!! However, that got me thinking about the question I get a lot from new photographers, “how do you backup your photos?”  Unlike your regular documents, chances are you have photos “everywhere”. You have photos on your memory cards. You have photos on your hard drive. You have photos on your “other” hard drive. You have photos on your smartphone. You have photos on your tablet. You have photos online. Worst yet the problem will continue to grow as you take more photos every day and you acquire more devices. There is nothing else you have electronically that will likely be in so many places and continue to grow. Music and videos can be a mess too, but generally you’re shooting more photos than you are videos and acquiring new music.

How to Backup Your Photos

This post is really not about a specific piece of hardware or software. Sure  I will share the specific hardware and software that I use, but I really want you to focus on a simple rule first: “Always have your photos in at least three places with one of those places being offsite.” No matter what software, hardware or even cloud based solution you have, the worst mistake you can make is relying on ANY one thing/service. No matter what hard drive you buy, computer you use, service you backup to, etc., they are ALL SUBJECT TO FAIL! Nothing manmade will last forever. So don’t rely on any one thing to be the sole location for your precious memories. If you follow the simple rule above, you’ll be in a lot safer position than the average person out there.

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What’s my workflow and how do I backup my photos?

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Since this is a question I get on a regular basis I’ll share with you exactly what I do and how I backup. Keeping the rule in the previous paragraph in mind I know that my photos need to be in at least three places with one of those places being offsite. In that case let’s walk through one of my shoots:

Location #1

I either shoot on location to a memory card(s) or in studio tethered directly to my MacBook Pro. In the case of being on location the images are captured to the memory card first and that’s the first (temporary) location of my images by default. When I shoot tethered my images go directly to my laptop hard drive (yes you can use an external, but I don’t since they won’t be there for long.)

Location #2

If I shot on location then I import the images into a folder on my MacBook Pro drive and from there into Adobe Lightroom 5. Since the images are still on the card this becomes location #2 by default. However, if I shot tethered then the photos are already in a folder on my drive. Since I’m on the Mac, I have TWO Time Machine Backups setup that AUTOMATICALLY alternate backing up every hour. This is the real location #2 (Location #1 = MacBook Pro and Location #2 one of two Time Machine Backup drives on the network).

Location #3a

This one doesn’t really count as Location #3 because the photos are ultimately “moved” from my MacBook Pro onto a Drobo 5D which is attached to my Mac OS X Server (Mac mini). In other words the photos from my recent shoot are on the MacBook Pro hard drive while I work on them, retouch them and then finally deliver them. Once I’m done with them I move that folder from my MacBook Pro hard drive to my Drobo hard drive.  So technically this is still location #2 as the photos will either be on the MacBook Pro OR the Drobo, but not both. I put this location in because it is part of the workflow.

Location #3b

Not only were my photos being backed up to my TWO Time Machine backups within 1 to 2 hours after being on my home network, they are also being backed up OFFSITE to CrashPlan.com. CrashPlan works in the background and immediately starts backing up any new files added to my pictures folder on my MacBook Pro. However, let’s say for the sake of argument that I move them to the Drobo before CrashPlan has a chance to back them all up. What happens then? You guessed it, the Mac mini connected to the Drobo is also backing up to Crashplan.com. In either case the photos will either get backed up offsite from the MacBook Pro or from the Mac mini if not both.

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Location #1 AGAIN

It’s important to note that the Mac OS X Server (Mac mini with the Drobo 5D) ultimately becomes my archive. It’s where ALL of my photos eventually end up. It’s where my Lightroom catalogs point to for photos taken in years past. This means that the Mac mini/Drobo 5D technically becomes location #1 at some point in the digital life of my photos. So what now?

Location #2 AGAIN

The Mac OS X Server is backed up via Time Machine to ANOTHER Drobo. A networked Drobo 5N. This ultimately becomes  location #2.

Location #3 is still Location #3

The Mac OS X Server is backed up offsite AUTOMATICALLY via CrashPlan.com. I could even setup CrashPlan as an App on the Drobo 5N so that it’s backs up the backup offsite.

Bonus Backup Locations

If all I had was the above strategy/workflow I’d feel “pretty” comfortable, but I’m a paranoid kinda guy when it comes to my data. So I have some bonus backups. Since Time Machine can backup automatically to as many drives as you add to it (automatically alternating between them), I backup on the go to small WD 2TB My Passport Wireless Drive. This one is the one that I travel with. Since I shoot out of town from time to time I can’t chance that my photos won’t be backed up before I get home. Therefore the memory cards become Location #1, the MacBook Pro hard drive becomes Location #2 and the WD My Passport Wireless Time Machine backup becomes location #3 on the road. Not to mention that if my internet connection is fast enough that CrashPlan is doing it’s thing in the background too. As far as just my data goes in general I have yet another backup of my entire drive. A “clone” backup (using either SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner) to another 1TB G-Drive Thunderbolt/USB 3.0 portable drive. This backup is less about photos and more about the day that my computer or OS gets hosed and I need to boot immediately and continue with my presentation/work. In other words for those scenarios when I don’t have time to do a Time Machine restore.

Since I now have a 2TB WD My Passport Wireless Drive with a built-in SD slot. I can make a backup of the card(s) in the field before I even get back to my computer.

The Never Ending Need for More Storage

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Like I said in the opening, you’re going to be taking photos from here on out for the rest of your life. This means that you will always be ADDING files to your hard drives. Most users think that once their “main” drive fills up, just go buy an external drive. Yes, that works but it’s something you’re always going to need to do. Sure you can buy a bigger drive next time and copy everything from the first external onto the new external and that’s what I used to do. That was until copying everything got to the point that it was taking 18-24 hours to copy.

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I knew years ago that I was going to need an “scalable” storage system and that’s why I went with Drobo way back then. They’re Beyond RAID technology allows me to swap out/or add a drive in my Drobo with a larger one without having to stop working or even reboot. As I need more space I just put in more/larger drives. If one (or even two drives fail at the same time) fails my data is protected. This doesn’t mean that I don’t need to backup. Remember what I said about everything manmade will eventually FAIL? Drobo or any other RAID system can fail at any time. However, I must say that to date I’ve had no major issues with my Drobo hardware and it has protected me on more than one occasion from drives that have died.

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One day I came home to an email alert from my Drobo letting me know that one of the drives had failed. It safely protected the data with no data loss. I replaced the drive and kept right on working! Also feeling at ease knowing that I had a BACKUP!

 

I know that Drobo (or any other storage solution) can and will fail at some point, but that’s why I backup! That’s why I never depend on ANY one thing being the sole location of my precious data/photos.

Q&A

Q. Do I have to do what you do?

A. Nope, you can do whatever you want. They’re your photos.

Q. What about SSD drives? Aren’t they crash proof?

A. A common misconception about Solid State Drives (SSD) is that since they have no moving parts, they won’t crash. While I would agree that this makes them “less” crash prone, it doesn’t mean that they can’t die or have an issue that results in the loss of data. As a matter of fact I have first hand experience with losing data that was on a NEW SSD. See that story here.

Q. I don’t trust cloud services. Do I have to use CrashPlan?

A. Nope! The main thing is that you have at least one copy of your data OFFSITE. What good is a backup that sits right next to your computer if someone breaks in and steals the computer AND the backup drive or if you have a fire, flood or other major loss? I know many people that simply have two or more backup drives that they rotate between a friend/relative’s house or a safe deposit box at the bank. As a matter of fact this was my method for offsite backup before I started using CrashPlan. My server would do a clone backup to an external drive each night. I would take the drive to the bank and swap it about once a week. That’s how it started anyway. Then once a week became twice a month. Twice a month became once a month. Once a month became “I can’t remember the last time I swapped backups.” I use CrashPlan because it’s one less thing I have to think about. It works in the background and backs my photos/data up to their servers without having to think about it. It has already come in handy. Also on a side note you can still use CrashPlan without backing up to their servers! That’s right, you can download their software for free and set it up so that it backs up your computer to another computer (say at a friend’s or relative’s house) over the internet. You still have an offsite backup that’s automatic, but you control the location of the data. Provided you trust your friends or relatives :-)

Q. CrashPlan sounds great! Why not just use that (or a similar service)?

A. You still want a local backup for a few reasons. #1 if something does happen it’s a whole lot faster to restore from a local backup then it is from the cloud. #2 CrashPlan doesn’t backup their servers! That’s right, they openly state that their servers are NOT backed up. Why? Because they know that they are your only backup.

Q. What do you get out of telling us all this?

A. What I hope to get is the peace of mind knowing that I helped at least one person protect their data and I will not have to hear one more person’s story about how they lost everything because of hardware failure or a virus. Drives are SO CHEAP now that there is NO REASON not to have multiple backups.

Q. I upload my photos to Facebook, Flickr, 500px, Smugmug, etc., is that a backup?

A. When you share your photos on social media it’s usually designed to be a one way trip. In other words most sites are not designed to share the original quality of the photo, store it and let your download it again. When you upload a photo to Facebook, that version is highly compressed and looks worse than the original. While having your photos online is better than nothing, it’s not a backup and there is no guarantee that the online entity will allow you to keep them there forever or even be around forever.

Q. You mentioned smartphones. Yes I have photos there that aren’t anywhere else. How are you handling those photos?

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A. I look at my iPhone as another camera. I shoot with it and it’s true I don’t always download them to my computer right away, I do want them backed up. Luckily Apple let’s you do this for FREE. iCloud backup is free (5GB of YOUR data) and built-in to iOS. My iPhone 6 Plus gets backed up every night automatically. I also use Lightroom Mobile. I have a Collection in Lightroom Mobile on my iPhone and my iPad set to “Auto Import”. As soon as I launch Lightroom Mobile on my iPhone it imports any new pictures from my camera roll and syncs them to the cloud. These photos appear in Lightroom on my desktop (MacBook Pro) right along side my other photos. My MacBook Pro is being backed up as outlined above. Lightroom is the center of my photo universe. If it’s an important photo to me then it’s in my Lightroom catalog and the actual digital file (RAW or JPG) is in a folder on my server and two other places.

The Bottom Line

My goal is to always have my photos in at least three places! As you can see from the above workflow I’m cover 99% of the time. Even with what I do above there are still chances for loss. For example, a memory card can go bad before the pictures are ever transferred to the computer or copied to another card in the camera. If recovery software/services can’t retrieve them, they’re gone! What if all your camera equipment is stolen while you’re still out of town? There’s no way to be 100% safe, but at least with a workflow like the one above you’d be covered for the most common situations.



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